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Bill seeks to expand practice of telemedicine in Texas

As readers may be aware, the growth of telemedicine in the United States is swift and holds promise for increasing access to quality medical care for those with limited access to brick and mortar facilities. Most states have recognized the benefits of telemedicine and taken steps to allow health care providers to offer direct to consumer telehealth care.

Texas is not among those states, much to the dismay of enterprising health care providers in the state. Earlier this week, though, representatives of the health care industry in Texas submitted a bill to the Texas legislature to address issues that have prevented the growth of telemedicine in Texas. 

One issue the bill apparently addresses is the specific way the doctor-patient relationship is established. Under current law, telemedicine care may not be provided outside an “established medical site.” A patient’s private home is not considered to be an established medical site unless mental health services are being provided or, for other types of care, there is an established doctor-patient relationship and a patient site presenter is present. The idea of the bill is to make it easier to establish a doctor-patient relationship so the telemedicine model is actually workable under Texas law.

Although telemedicine could potentially help a lot of Texas have access to necessary medical care, it is important for patients who receive telehealth care to realize that there are unique risks associated with the model. In a future post, we’ll look a bit more at this issue and how an experienced attorney can help in the event that telehealth care goes awry.